Newburyport Sparks New Life into Pepperweed Project

A great end to a hard day of work

A great end to a hard day of work

Pulling pepperweed

Pulling pepperweed

Look at the size of this one!

Look at the size of this one!

By Tommy Furlong

In the last week I have participated in several successful pepperweed pulls under the leadership of Chris Orlando and Ryan Furlong. So far we’ve pulled at the Newburyport Boat Basin (which has decreased in pepperweed significantly over the previous years), behind the Mersen Industrial building, around the Audubon, and at different waterfront homes. Earlier this month the GOMI team held the annual week-long summer conference which gave us time to prepare and schedule our different pulls. Since the end of this conference we have stepped up our game and have started having two pulls a week on Saturday and Tuesday.

A little background on pepperweed: it’s an invasive species that has been taking over the marshes of the North Shore and is terrorizing the ecosystems around us. This is the project that started Newburyport GOMI and has stayed the heart and soul of the team. The hard work of the current team, and also previous GOMI members, has proved to be a major factor in the rapid decline of the pepperweed population. However, this wouldn’t be true if it weren’t for the manual hours of pulling and spraying the plant. The eradication of this plant is essential to keeping our marshes healthy, and the Newburyport GOMI team has been doing everything it can to help. Even if it’s only one bag at a time, eradicating pepperweed is an important cause worthy of devoting countless hours to.



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Newburyport climate change event

Of interest to GOMI teams in the New England area. For more details click on the logo.


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GOMC GeoTour

The Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment is celebrating its 25th Anniversary with a geocache tour of the Gulf of Maine Watershed.

The Gulf of Maine Council GeoTour was created to encourage people to get out, learn about and experience the beauty and value of the Gulf of Maine for themselves.

The GeoTour is like a scavenger hunt, but instead of visiting locations to collect objects, participants will be finding answers to site specific questions and collecting points. The treasure, a limited edition Gulf of Maine Council 25th Anniversary Geocoin, is available to participants who collect enough points and send in their GeoTour Passport.

To learn more and get the info to take part click on the map below:Geotour

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GOMI Summer Workshop 2014 – team report

Report by Roger Outhouse – Digby/Islands – Friday, July 4th

The presentations went smoothly and my water quality theme team was amazing. I have to admit that I had two members of the Newburyport Team and an ex-GOMI engineering student which made my job much easier. Really not having to be supervising every night has made a big difference. Anna-Marie was a bit busy last night but she still got to retire at a reasonable hour.

Students are packing tonight  and we will be underway around 9:30 am after closing ceremonies Saturday morning. Team photos taken today and the evening has youth home teams making a brief presentation. After that a social evening to relax and celebrate follows. All team members seem to be in good spirits.

We will likely make a short stop to eat lunch tomorrow at a US outlet mall and some students might want to pick up a souvenir. Plan to cross the border late afternoon or early evening and stay at the St. Stevens Inn. We will let everyone know what is happening with the ferry situation Saturday night so you will know when we might get across. This storm front is still a bit of an unknown. Will keep everyone posted.

Anna-Marie and I were proud to have been with our youth as they showed great poise and team work though out the week.

Digby/Islands team

Digby/Islands team at Adelynrood


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GOMI Summer Workshop 2014 – 7/04

Thanks to tropical storm Arthur we have had some rain and cooling temperatures. Quite a nice and needed change at GOMI. All of the teams were busy after breakfast putting the final polish on their presentations. After lunch the guest panelists gathered and each team had about 1o minutes to summarize their week’s work. Well done presentations, good questions from the panel and thoughtful answers highlighted the afternoon. A few shots below of the presentations and panel:

After we completed the formal part of the day we took the traditional group picture in just a little bit to rain. All agreed that we grew a bit from the experience.

GOMI 2014

GOMI 2014

The day was not ended. Home teams gathered to make plans for their next year’s activities to be reported in the evening. Packing for home was started. Evening activities to celebrate Independence Day were planned and enjoyed. The time to evening quiet time was extended for socialization.

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GOMI Summer Workshop 2014 – 7/03

Another HOT day at Adelynrood. The theme teams were back work on their projects with some teams off site and the rest working on the property. As the teams finished data gathering they transitioned to thinking about their presentations for Friday afternoon.

Invasives team removes Black Swallow-Wort from the Site. This plant kills Monarch butterfly larva.

Invasives team removes Black Swallow-Wort from the Site. This plant kills Monarch butterfly larva. The site is now free of this invasive species.

Oriental Bittersweet invading a Red Cedar is cut as invasive control measure.

Oriental Bittersweet invading a Red Cedar is cut as invasive control measure. Impact has been reduced but not eliminated.

In the evening, Tim Conway, who works with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, conducted a multi-team game, GOMIville. The youth played rolls of government, coal producers and companies, solar/wind companies, environmental groups, natural gas companies, and sole focus budget interest groups. The overall goal was reduction of reliance on fossil fuels while maintaining the economic health of the community whose income (70%) is presently dominated by coal. The game led to the understanding of various positions, arguments and potential for negotiations and some spirited discussion.

The evening closed with an inspiring talk on beekeeping from Laurie Herboltsheimer and Dean Stiglitz, authors of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Beekeeping. Laurie and Dean are active beekeepers in the Boston region.

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GOMI Summer Workshop 2014 – 7/02

One really HOT day  here at Adelynrood.  Temperature in 90′s and humidity also high. All careful to stay hydrated. It was a team project day. Water Quality, Climate Change and Urban Ecology were off site and the rest of the teams worked at Adelynrood. A number of guest team leaders were present to run or assist in projects. Late afternoon included a games team building exercise and after dinner the annual Talent Show was held.

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GOMI Summer Workshop 2014 – 7/01

Canada Day! Yes, we got off to a good start with the anthem and recognition that this is, besides GOMI, a special day. After breakfast each of the Theme Teams reported on their experience in Lowell yesterday. It was interesting hearing the different takes on the experience as each team had time on its own to explore its interests.

The whole group then held a session on team building and a planning and civic engagement exercise. After lunch the Theme Teams met with their leaders to get an orientation and start on their topic. The themes this year are Bee Keeping, Climate Change, Drifters, Invasive Species, Urban Ecology and Water Quality.

Margaret Young introduces the Invasive Plants team to keying and plant illustration.

Margaret Young introduces the Invasive Plants team to keying and plant illustration.

After dinner, Mike Bohn, with the US Forest Service gave a talk on the invasive Emerald Ash Borer beetle, its spread and efforts to deal with it. This was followed by a Canada Day event and Game Night.

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GOMI Summer Workshop 2014 – 06/30

The GOMI group spent the day in Lowell, MA, home of the industrial revolution in the United States. We learned about the massive changes in the landscape to accommodate the cotton mill needs for waterpower. The canals are still there as testament to the changes. The mills and their story are still there but they are no longer used to produce cloth. That aspect is long gone. We also learned about the social changes that industry brought to this New England town in the 1800 and 1900 hundreds. It is an involved story of capital, labor, immigration, accommodation, disintegration and renewal.  It was a most informative day incorporating ecological, environmental and social justice stories.

In the evening each of the teams provided a home team report to the rest of the group. We all learned about the various projects that are in progress throughout the Gulf of Maine. The amount and variety of projects is very impressive.

Dr. Anne Giblen, a senior scientist at Ecosystems Centre Marine Biological Laboratory at Wood Hole closed out the evening with an inspiring talk on Climate Change. She provided the essential points we need to understand and discussed how each of us can help others to understand that this is an important event in time and how we each really can set an example and make a difference.

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GOMI Summer Workshop 2014 – 06/29

All arrived at the Adelynrood Retreat and Conference Center by late afternoon. The New England teams arrived from local places and the Maritime teams from St. Stephens, NB. That group left about 8:30am, crossed the border smoothly, gained an hour in the time change and headed south. Made two rest stops along the way. Arrived about 3pm, got rooms assigned and spent a leisurely time getting acquainted with old and new friends.

Activities got underway at 5pm with welcome and orientation by John Terry (GOMI), Shari Melto (Chair, GOMI Board) and Marge Cull and Barbara Diamond from Adelynrood. This was followed by Team Building games and a filling dinner hour. The Climate Change team introduced individual actions that could be taken by each participant to make a personal difference. All signed up to exercise a responsible action during the week. A “getting to know you” activity was followed by free and then quiet time.

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